In The Workplace
Clark, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
Needs assessment. In late 2007, Ashley Furniture Industries
(AFI) had 2,233 of their employees participate in a health risk assessment
(HRA) along with biometric screening. The summary of the HRA biometric
screenings provided AFI management with their own employees obesity prevalence
rate which was 40% (AFI, 2008) exceeding that of the national average of 34.3%
(Flegal, Carroll, Ogden, & Curtin, 2010). The AFI management team used this
information in determining that their employees not only need but would benefit
by participating in programs to improve their health and well-being.
Studies support that obesity is a significant contributor
to rising healthcare costs. Because some of this cost is shouldered by
employers, they are often motivated to look for strategies to reduce these
costs. Many health conditions are potentially responsive to health
intervention (heart disease, cancers, obesity, or respiratory diseases).
Obesity is epidemic in the United States. It leads to serious health
consequences which in turn add to the healthcare costs for individuals and
businesses alike. The purpose of this project is to evaluate whether a
12-week worksite physical and nutritional educational program had an effect
on body mass index, physical activity and fruit and vegetable intake among
the study population.
The 12-week program included weekly challenges; one focused on nutrition and
another focused on physical activity. Strategies utilized included team
competition and cash incentives. In addition, a web-site was developed in
which Body Mass Indices (BMI) and weights were entered allowing participants
to be monitored and track their own progress. Pre and post-surveys along with
self-reported dietary information and participation in challenges were used
to collect data. Official weigh-in sessions took place at week zero and at
the conclusion of the program.
Physical activity was increased 4-fold, fruit and
vegetable intake showed a 19.8% increase, and participants achieved a
statistically significant 10% shift to a lower BMI category (p<0.0001).
These data demonstrate that this worksite wellness program positively
impacted the study population and should translate to improved health and
lower costs of healthcare for AFI.
This program showed that favorable health and wellness changes can be made in
the Ashley Furniture Industries population. It gives the participants the
tools necessary to adopt permanent lifestyle changes. It also motivates
Ashley Furniture Industries to consider reproducing this program in hopes of
improving the health of their workforce and reduce healthcare costs.